Original Letter for Download
Thank you to all of you who took the time to fill out the Operation Lone Star (OLS) Morale survey. CSM Branch and I are grateful for your honest feedback. Every comment was reviewed, and we will work diligently to fix areas of concern within our ability while ensuring good order and discipline, force protection, and mission accomplishment.
Below are the trends and overarching issues we received that I would like to address:
Mission: What are our orders, what is the mission, and why are you here?
- Our mission is derived from the order issued by the Governor to assist DPS in enforcing the laws of Texas. Governor Abbott was forced to declare a state emergency and mobilized members of the Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Texas State Guard to assist other agencies in protecting Texans and their property. The military has and always will adhere to lawful orders.
- Joint Task Force Lone Star conducts security operations in Texas Department of Public Safety Regions 3 and 4, in order to detect and apprehend transnational criminal organizations, and repel illegal migration.
- As with all other Defense Support to Civilian Authorities (DSCA) operations performed by TXNG, we are in support of a lead civilian agency. DPS is the lead OLS civilian agency.
- To date, your presence helped stop over 900lbs of dangerous fentanyl cross our borders that have killed thousands throughout the country. Additionally, you helped stopped and referred over 96K migrants who illegally crossed our borders, 9K individuals turned back and did not cross-over due to your presence, and 360 criminal referrals. Our presence alone have resulted in apprehension of migrants and criminal as they take other routes due to your presence. We are in process a developing a TMD OLS Weekly Update highlighting our success. While notable, we understand, these accomplishments have required sacrifice from everyone involved.
- We acknowledge there are still numerous pay issues and constantly work on a daily bases to resolve these problems. You deserve to get paid every penny for the work you do and we will make sure that you do. This is the largest single TXNG mobilization in modern times which strained the TMD state payroll system. To date every Service Member has been paid, but we recognize amounts may have not been correct. We are diligently working to make corrections to include direct deposits. TF S1 and S8 are in the process of downloading all earning statements since the mission began back in March 2020 and we are diligently working to make corrections.
- Rapid deployment for OLS at such a large number of service members required deploying in an austere environment. However, ongoing efforts with an aim to provide lodging similar to what service members experience on an overseas deployment has being finalized. Construction will begin at our first basecamp in February. Due to force protection concerns we are limiting the use of hotels unless absolutely necessary.
- Rapid deployment and the overwhelming number of volunteers minimized traditional unit leadership integrity and esprit de corps. This coupled with ever changing tasks assigned by DPS has challenged lines of communication. Every leader has been informed to keep Service Member abreast on the mission and successes realized in the execution of the mission.
- Have confidence that CSM Branch and I are working hard to improve morale among our ranks. You deserve effective leaders. We will do everything in our power to ensure you have the leadership you deserve. We will be examining the command climate and fixing anything that poses a threat to overall mission or our Guardsmen’s well-being.
Work Related: Refit days, passes, and curfews
Refit days are designed to allow for personal time while still be available for rapid deployment in the event of a surge or unexpected tasking requirement. Service Member must remain in the area, but are giving some latitude for personal time. Effective February, a 4 day pass will be granted every month to spend how you so choose. Curfews are designed to ensure unit readiness, availability, and force protection.
Nothing can replace effective communication derived from leaders talking with Service Member. JTF OLS will compliment that effort by using RAVE and other mediums to increase communication down to the Service Member level. Thank you and feel free to share this information with your battle buddies.
Brigadier General Ulis
Operation Lone Star Commander